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Land IQ 2021 Final Acreage Estimate Shows Increase Despite Removals


Total standing almond acreage increased year-over-year in 2021, according to Land IQ’s 2021 Standing Acreage Final Estimate. The estimate of 1,662,633 total acres is an increase over the 2020 Standing Acreage Final Estimate of 1,552,754 total acres, but a decrease from the initial estimate released earlier this year in April.  

Final estimate slightly lower than initial  

Beginning in 2019, the Almond Board adjusted the mapping process of the Land IQ data to include annual reporting that now involves the release of two acreage summaries: an initial estimate that includes a bearing acreage estimate, and a final estimate that includes bearing and non-bearing acreage estimates for the same production year. The final estimate builds off the initial estimate earlier in the year by utilizing a combination of extensive ground-truthing and advanced remote sensing analytics to refine Land IQ’s initial findings.  

In 2020, the initially estimated acreage was higher than the final estimate. The same can be said for 2021 with the initial estimate in April forecast at 1,323,722 bearing acres, just under 14,000 acres more than the final bearing acreage estimate.  

Removals increase, due to drought? 

While industries continue to slowly rebound from COVID-19 impacts, farmers also faced a familiar foe in 2021 – limited water. In 2020 the Land IQ report started tracking tree removals in its acreage count. According to the 2021 report, drought impacts may have played a role in an increase of acreage removed year-over-year. The Land IQ data estimated 56,949 acres of almond trees were removed this year, nearly 10,000 acres more than the initial projection in April, and 18,132 acres more than were estimated as removed in 2020.  

The report shows that most counties had more removals in the final version versus the initial estimate, with Southern San Joaquin counties showing the biggest increase.  

New data further tracks water issues and abandoned trees 

For the first time, the 2021 Land IQ report includes “stressed” and “abandoned” acreage. The Land IQ spatial analyses detected various conditions of abandoned orchards that are split into three categories – stressed, abandoned and long-term abandoned.  

According to Land IQ, these categories are defined as… 

  • Stressed - Orchards that show visual stress, but do not appear fully abandoned. Many orchards have shown a drop in Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) in the late summer or early fall but have likely been irrigated for most of the year. This also includes relatively young orchards that have shown a drop in vigor, but do not have high enough canopy coverage to clearly identify abandonment. Although not always true, it is assumed that most of these orchards will produce in future years and will continue to be monitored. 
  • Abandoned - These orchards are clearly abandoned within the 2021 crop year and appear not to have been irrigated for most or all the year. 
  • Long Term Abandoned - These orchards have been abandoned prior to the 2021 water year but have not yet been removed. 

The 2021 report estimates there were 25,383 “stressed” acres, 7,111 “abandoned” acres, and 3,769 “long term abandoned” acres this year.  

“ABC has been working with Land IQ for several years to continually improve the process, and ultimately the data, provided in these estimates,” said Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott. “Combining these numbers with those of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service creates very useful information for the industry. The new data added to the process over the last two years will further the knowledge of the ebbs and flow of California almond acreage.” 

Industry members are encouraged to visit the Almond Board website at for more information on the 2021 final estimate and to view Land IQ’s updated layer map. Any technical questions about the map may be directed to Land IQ at (916) 265-6358 or